Sunday, March 21, 2010


The newest member of our family. She's been here 3 weeks, and you'd think I'd have gotten around to showing her off by now. My excuse(s): lack of sleep, post-partum hormones which turn me into a blubbering mess when I even think about writing about the new little miracle that has joined our family, two other children who have made it very clear they do not like their mother right now, nursing and pumping and nursing and eating more than enough so I have an endless milk supply and nursing and nursing and nursing and fretting over whether my child is growing and/or getting enough to eat and also nursing, sleeping, trying to enjoy these first weeks because we are definitely not doing this again!

She's beautiful, and I love her.


1st: day she was born - March 1st, 2010...I find it very fitting that my first child was born on the last day of March and my last child was born on the first day of March. "The first shall be last, and the last shall be first." Yes, I am 100% sure that this is it. I am too old to do this again.

6: time of birth - 6:00 p.m. exactly.

6 6: weight - 6 lbs 6 oz.

20: inches long.

3: number of times the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.

4: days in the hospital...long enough to wear out your welcome.

3: children...all girls!

3: weeks I've survived.

20: pounds I need to lose.

3: average number of times I'm up at night feeding this child, whom I love dearly, but would love even more if I were sleeping more.

Cannot be quantified: changed diapers, kisses, friends and neighbors and family bringing gifts and meals and taking care of children, feedings, gratitude that she is here and healthy, the medical bills from our emergency C-section (just kidding - sort of).

Her arrival (you have my permission to stop reading may be long, and most likely boring to anyone other than myself):

Remember how I was panicking over having to make a silly decision whether to be induced or not? Well, that should have been the least of my worries. Monday, shortly after I posted my last post three weeks ago I started having contractions....on my own, Pitocin-free, lucky me! Shortly after 3:00 p.m. the girls were with a friend, and CW and I were on our way to the hospital. Everything was fine and normal...I was dilated to a 5 or 6 when I got to the hospital, and we were going to have a baby!

Then I met the nurse anesthetist. This is where things started going badly. The dude inspired no confidence whatsoever. As he searched my back for an endless amount of time, looking for who knows what, I was on the verge of telling him to forget the epidural, I would rather go natural. That's saying a lot. He acted like this was his first experience sticking a needle in someone's spine, and I was not about to let some amateur paralyze me for life. I was not impressed, and it must have showed, because at one point CW said, "SaM, he's doing a GOOD job...he knows what he's doing." My nerves were on edge, and it didn't get any better.

Shortly after my epidural, a random doctor from the hospital came to check on things with a concerned look, which led to more freaking out on my part. Of course no one bothered explaining to me what was going on, and I'm going over every possible horror-story scenario, wondering if this would still be happening had I taken my pre-natal vitamins more faithfully. Yes, I really am as pathetic as I sound, and by now the tears were flowing freely. Finally some comfort came by way of my OB/GYN, along with some much-needed explanations. Apparently every time I had a contraction baby's heart rate dropped. At first her heart rate would return to normal after the contraction was over, but after several episodes her heart rate wasn't returning to normal before I would have another contraction. Seeing as I was still only dilated to a 6, and could be in labor for hours to come, my doctor decided a C-section was necessary. More panicking...something about being cut open is much more terrifying to me than pushing out a baby. Lots of morphine and 15 minutes later I'd given birth. Interesting fact about myself, morphine makes me forget to breathe. Who knew? Hopefully that piece of information won't be needed again and can be stored away, a useless trivia fact that maybe I'll mention when conversation is dull at our next social gathering.

The umbilical cord had been wrapped three times around her neck. There was no way she could have made it down the birth canal on her own. I was told the cord was very thin - should I worry about this, too. Why not? Once again, maybe it can be attributed to my irregular consumption of vitamins. She was so small and seemed even more traumatized than I was. I was in a morphine daze, and remember very little of the moments following her delivery. They let me hold her (was that really wise, considering how incoherent I was?) before taking her away to do whatever it is they do. Then the stitching up began, which seemed to take forever compared to the quick procedure of cutting me open and taking my insides out. It was a very unpleasant sensation to feel the tugging and pulling of being put back together. Finally, it was over....I could go see my baby.

Or not. I would not see my baby for the next 12 hours. And I only saw her because I painfully wheeled myself down to see her (okay, I think a nurse actually wheeled me down while my husband, who remained much more calm throughout all of this, slept peacefully). What I hadn't been told, or at least not to my recollection, was that my baby had TTN, or rapid breathing, most likely because of excess fluid in her lungs. They would need to monitor her until her breathing slowed down. She was on an IV, and I was not allowed to feed her for fear that she might aspirate. More waiting. Finally at 6:00 p.m. the next day, 24 hours after her birth (it felt much longer), I was able to hold and feed my baby. Well, the feeding would take some work, but at least she was free of the machines!

And then we hung out for 3 more days, monitoring and checking and trying to get the girl to eat. I cried and panicked some more, because clearly if I couldn't even feed my own child I wasn't fit to be a mother. And then she'd make some progress, gradual, but at least in the right direction. And I got some sleep and cried a little less. Finally by Friday, I didn't even care if I wasn't able to feed my child, I just wanted out of that stupid hospital full of people who clearly couldn't get a job at a decent medical institution. Yes, in my old age I have become extremely impatient and intolerant of others. Really, there were some great people who took care of me and my baby, but there were also more than a few "interesting" characters. At times it really did feel like this place took in the most socially awkward doctors, nurses, nurse anesthetists, etc. they could find.

Week one over, and we were home at last. EM and LuV were at Grandma and Grandpa's in Idaho, CW back at work, and I am a mother of one. Only one. Just me and my baby girl. All day long. It was so quiet and peaceful. There were days the silence was maddening, and I just wanted to go get my girls. Fortunately I resisted. Week two was a blissful time of sleeping and reading and relaxing and healing and holding my baby whenever I wanted, as long as I wanted. She got better at eating. We bonded. Week three and I was back to being a mother of three. We had one GOOD day - Wednesday. Baby slept in her crib. LuV took a nap, which meant she wasn't crying for her dad all afternoon. There was slightly less whining. I finally swept and mopped the hardwood floors - it had been nearly a month. The rest of the week was less successful.

Baby still isn't a great eater or night sleeper. I'm ready to give up on nursing, and if it weren't for RSV season I probably would. I'm trying to hold out until the end of April. Wish me luck. EM and LuV have their moments. It's hard for them, I know. I am trying to be sensitive. I am trying to be patient. I am trying to balance the needs of three little girls. I am trying to be a mother of three. I am trying. Some day we'll get there. I am surviving, and that is all that can be expected after three weeks. We'll take the GOOD days when they come, and the other days we hold on until 5:30 p.m. brings relief.

One thing is certain - she is loved. EM and LuV love their sister. I love my baby girl. I am grateful she is here, even if she causes me grief with her eating and sleeping. I am thankful she is healthy even if it costs us thousands in medical expenses. I am amazed at the miracle of life - that she is so perfect and beautiful and whole. I still can't believe how blessed we spite of pre-natal vitamins and everything else. And I still couldn't write this without crying, but at least it didn't end in violent sobbing like some of the other posts I started....

Monday, March 1, 2010


Near 60-degree weather. Being outside. An end in sight. Thinking about a new beginning. A soon-to-be special delivery, just for us, coming from a heavenly home. Nesting. Recognizing a need to improve. Loving my children. Determining that I will be better because they deserve better. Homemade curry...enjoyed by all. 9:00 a.m. church. A two-year-old making it to the potty in time. Kids' bedtime. Remembering what I looked like with ankles. Crying during the movie Bedtime Stories and still being able to blame it on pregnancy hormones. Tiny baby clothes. Wondering, waiting, wishing.

photo courtesy of EM

Just some things I've enjoyed the past couple days.
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